Monday, July 16, 2007

Why We Homeschool - Part 2

My top ten reasons we homeschool. By the way, these are in no particular order.

This is my next installment in the "larger, and more sinister, agenda."

See Why We Homeschool - Part 1

2) To promote fiscal responsibility

This encompasses many different aspects. First, schools are hotbeds of consumerism. All of a sudden, children want to have the "right lunch box" or the "right clothes." Students no longer want things for the enjoyment the desired item could bring, but for how owning, wearing, or being seen with this item will effect their social ranking at school. Spending habits develop based on a delusional belief that it is possible to "buy" self worth.

This consumerism goes hand in hand with a distorted senses of entitlement. Children want the material wealth right now that took the previous generations a life time to achieve. There is something seriously wrong when it costs an average of $1000 per couple to attend a high school prom. In addition, the average American teen spent more than $104 a week in 2001, according to the marketing research firm Teenage Research Unlimited.

Obviously, the parents are a major part of the problem, but good parents find themselves fighting a losing battle when children set their expectations by their peers at school. I personally know middle class families whose children needed loans to pay for college because the child spent all the money the parents saved in addition to what he/she supposedly earned for college on clothes, cars, eating out and cells phone bills. This spending trend follows into ghetto schools where even children in great poverty are sporting the latest styles, gadgets and designer labels.

At college, this spending trend expands. Undergraduates carried an average balance of $2,748 while graduate students carried an average balance of $4,776. Nellie Mae also found that of the 78% of undergraduates with a card; 32% have four or more cards; 13% have credit card debt between $3000-$7000; and 9% have credit card debt greater than $7,000 (Nellie Mae, 2000). [ERICDIGESTS.ORG]

This debt is not being incurred to pay for essential school expenses but to pay for a lifestyle of shopping, beer and pizza.

Most of this generation have grown up during an era of almost uninterrupted prosperity. The skills which my parents and grandparents developed to live frugally are lost to a majority of the rising generation. Not only have they not developed the self control to limit spending, but they don't have the skills to take care of even their own most basic needs. Cooking, gardening, sewing, mending, home maintenance, budgeting, basic car repair are just a few of the skills no longer part of a well rounded education.

Schools are simply not an efficient way to teach these kinds of skills. Contemporary school schedule packed with homework and extracurricular fluff, don't leave much time for anything else. An occasional shop or home economics class can't take the place of a lifetime of learning by doing in the home. As children spend less and less time at home, many parents choose not to involve their children with the day to day management of a household because the children have so little family time.

Homeschooling gives our family a three-fold advantage:

1) Our children are not immersed in a consumerist society.

2) We have time at home to teach our children "do-it-yourself" skills.

3) We are free to choose a curriculum that emphasize sound money management principles and avoid the "money can buy happiness" philosophy prevalent in our society. (By the way, our curriculum includes the books like The Richest Man in Babylon, The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need, Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, and The TightWad Gazette.)

That's my agenda.

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Anonymous said...

You make some great points! I also like some of the books your using in your homeschooling curriculum. Have a great day. :)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. :) I was reading this aloud to my almost 18 year old dd & she wholeheartedly agreed with you as well! ;)

NerdMom said...

You didn't even mention the money waste that is actually perpetrated by the school systems itself. I feel we are making a statement about governmental fiscal responsibility too.

Janine Cate said...

Good point. I thought about trying to do them (personal and government) together, but decided to split them into two separate things. I find that many of my reasons overlap and are intertwined.

Thanks everybody for the feed back.

Barbara Frank said...

I wish you were exaggerating, but I know from my own research that what you're saying is true.

An advantage to raising financially responsible kids is that they will be the adults who will be needed to pick up the pieces after our own government's financial irresponsibility reaches its inevitable climax.

Excellent post....

Janine Cate said...

The part that I find scary is that the personal savings rate in the United States is now a negative number.

Sherry said...

The society that the public schools and lack of parental guidance are creating is truly a scary one. Do you think most hs kids will grow up to be (socially conservative) libertarians? :-)

Janine Cate said...

>Do you think most hs kids will grow up to be (socially conservative) libertarians? :-)

The majority won't bother to vote and if they do vote it will be based on a commercial or some celebrity.